A Port Arthur, Texas-Grand Cayman tradition is about to be reborn.
Grand Cayman’s sister city is reviving the once-annual party of celebrating all things Caymanian.
The two cities were designated sisters back in the 1980s after many Caymanians found themselves living on Texas soil; particularly in Port Arthur.
There’s even a joke among the migrated Caymanians who live there – they call Port Arthur the capital of Grand Cayman.
The bulk of Caymanians who settled in the Texas town were seamen who found themselves in port there, liked what they saw, bought land and homes and moved their families.
Our ties with Port Arthur are deep.
The sister of a well-known Caymanian is the head of the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and she is spearheading Cayman Night, which is slated for 17 June.
It seems that Verna Rutherford’s heart is always in Grand Cayman.
Shortly after Hurricane Ivan slammed into us in September 2004 Verna made it her personal mission to see that the residents here got all the goods and supplies they needed to survive after the storm.
She and her crews sent us generators, clothes, food, water, batteries; you name it, we needed it and she delivered with the help of another Caymanian who just happens to own shipping company DHL.
Last year our sister city got its own share of bad weather from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
While Grand Cayman has just about totally recovered from Hurricane Ivan, Port Arthur is still struggling to get back on its feet.
But it has healed enough to host a Cayman night next month.
It is Verna’s hope that those attending will be able to see, via slide shows, the destruction that Port Arthur suffered from Katrina and Rita.
It’s just another thing that the two places have in common.
But storm talk won’t be the only thing on the agenda that night.
There’s be plenty of food, drink, music and dancing.
Barefoot Man will be there along with Chuck and Barrie, better known as Sea n B, and Earl Lapierre who will cart along his magical steel drum.
There’ll be contests, limbo dancing, trinkets and souvenirs galore.
Verna and her crew have found lots of business sponsors to ensure the night is a success and because of their generosity, ticket prices have been kept to a low $15 per person.
That’s not a bad price for a night of merrymaking and getting together with old friends and family.
Because of the storms that struck Port Arthur, hotel space is limited, but again Verna and her crew have managed to find a couple of hotels that are up and running and have blocked off rooms for anyone interested in going.
We hope there is a lot of interest from the folks on Grand Cayman in joining with Port Arthur to celebrate our long history and sisterhood.
Tickets can be ordered by email from the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce at [email protected] or by calling (409) 963-1107.
If you’re going, call soon. And you can be sure, we’ll see you there.